Normalisation of ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel is an “inevitability,” Jared Kushner has predicted as the UAE this week became the first Gulf state – and third Arab country overall – to reach such an agreement with Tel Aviv.
“I do think that we have other countries that are very interested in moving forward [to establish diplomatic relations with Israel],” Kushner told CNBC in an interview on Friday.
“And then, as that progresses, I do think it is an inevitability that Saudi Arabia and Israel will have fully normalised relations and they will be able to do a lot of great things together.”
“You can’t turn a battleship around overnight” White House senior advisor Jared Kushner tells CNBC’s @_HadleyGamble. The deal between Israel and the UAE to normalize diplomatic ties should be celebrated as a “historic step,” despite the lack of support from Saudi Arabia, he adds. pic.twitter.com/FVcSa5CWDx— CNBC Middle East (@CNBCMiddleEast) August 14, 2020
Saudi Arabia has remained surprisingly silent on the landmark agreement, despite peer Arab nations of Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and Oman welcoming the breakthrough. Kushner, who has developed a close relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has downplayed the lack of response from Riyadh.
“We just had the first peace agreement in 26 years and now you’re saying: ‘Well, we want to get somebody else on board right away,’” he added.
The United Arab Emirates and Israel on Thursday announced a US-brokered deal that will see the Emirates become the third Arab nation to fully normalise diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.
According to the agreement, Israel would halt its plans to annex portions of the West Bank from Palestinians, although Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said the plans remained “on the table”.
Russia, China and the European Union have all backed the agreement, which capped years of growing cooperation between Israel and Arab nations in defence, commerce, and technology.
Iran – the shared regional rival of the UAE and Israel – has vehemently condemned the normalisation, as have all Palestinian factions and Turkey.